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Authors: Celeste Anwar

Carnal Knowledge

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CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

1

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

by

Celeste Anwar

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

2

(c) copyright August 2003 by Celeste Anwar

Cover art by Eliza Black, (c) copyright August 2003

New Concepts Publishing

5202 Humphreys Rd.

Lake Park, GA 31636

www.newconceptspublishing.com

CHAPTER ONE

“Hold it, bitch.”

Kaeli Jackson stopped instantly at the mouth of the dark, narrow

alley, a chill creeping up her spine at the mugger’s high, nasal voice. The door to Inferno was only thirty odd feet away, but she’d never make the run in her heels. She hadn’t gotten decked out in a year, and she’d break

something if she tried it. The bass from the music pounded outside--there was no chance they’d hear her scream or anything else. She was on her

own.

The mugger moved up behind her. “Damn you’re phat, bitch.” ‘PH’

phat he meant by the tone of his voice--he damn well wasn’t commenting on

the size of her ass. She didn’t want to tell him phat went out a year ago. He pinched an ass cheek and she gritted her teeth, biding her time, hands

clenching.

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

3

He snickered and released her. “Gimme your purse.” He wrenched at

it on her shoulder and she slipped it off, dropping it on the sidewalk from his grasp.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to,” she babbled like a helpless female,

glancing down and watching him stoop to grab the purse. His hand snaked

out, and she lifted her foot to grind her heel into the back of his hand--the meaty part near the thumb. Blood welled instantly. His high pitched

scream rattled her eardrums. She twisted, grinding him into the rough

pavement, knocking him back on his ass with a shin kick she’d learned in

KardioKick.

He sat back, clutching his hand to his chest, crimson rivulets

streaming down his arm. Kaeli got her first look at her would-be attacker.

A damn punk ass kid
. Why were they always kids? Quick perusal of the pavement confirmed he didn’t even have a weapon--stupid damn kid. Hell,

even she packed in these neighborhoods, not that it had done her any good.

“What the hell are you doin’ robbin’ people when you ain’t even got

your pubes yet, brat?”

He glared at her. “For the hell of it, bitch.”

Kaeli crossed her arms over her chest, narrowing her eyes. Should

have known it by looking at his gear--baggy britches and tight, long sleeved shirt, a chain on his waist. He had skater extremist written all over him.

Just like a damn extremist--it was getting to where they’d do just about

anything for a rush. “Fair enough.”

She bent and snatched his wallet off the chain. He didn’t try to stop

her--still nursing his wound. He’d live, that was sure.

“You can’t rob me! That’s not fair,” he said in a whiny voice.

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

4

A sure sign of immaturity. “Insurance, brat. Now get out of here.

You’re damn lucky you wasn’t brandishing or I’d sic the cops on your ass

right now.”

He continued glaring but scrambled to his feet and backed away until

it was safe to run.

As he disappeared around the block, Kaeli sighed, wondering if it had

been a wise move. She knew he was priming for prison, but she’d put

enough fear in him maybe he wouldn’t do anything else tonight. She’d

make a call to the cops once she got inside and turn his wallet in--not that the cops would do anything more than spoil an already marvelous night.

As it was, she wouldn’t be surprised if he was taken in and sued
her

for hurting him in the mugging--it was the American way, after all.

Kaeli had just turned back toward the club when clapping came from

near the dark alley’s entrance. She halted and tensed, expecting renewed

attack. Maybe she had gone crazy....

“That was an entertaining show, petite,” a deep, rumbling voice spoke

from the shadows. Gooseflesh raced over her skin just listening to it.

“Who the hell are you?” She couldn’t help being defensive. She’d

just been attacked, after all. She put the kid’s wallet into her purse, slipping her hand on the butt of her gun.

“You don’ need a pea shooter for me.”

She startled inside, tightened her hand on the butt. How the hell did

he know that? Lucky guess was all. Had to be.

He chuckled and moved into the light. Kaeli’s breath hitched, and if

she hadn’t been frozen in place, she’d surely have melted at the smoky look CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

5

the stranger passed over her. Thought became chaotic, sluggish as she did a once over and went back for more.

Blond. Golden. Adonis. He looked like some bad ass metal band

member--a lead bass guitarist. Long, wavy hair trailed down to his chest, muscles but not breadth hidden beneath a tight black T-shirt that tormented her. He had classical features: squared jaw, dimpled chin, straight nose, and smiling, full lips--but the combination tantalized when Grecian statues left her cold as the marble used to carve them. The man oozed bad boy like

people expelled carbon dioxide--and he was definitely just as dangerous in too great a quantity.

Tribal tattoos twirled about his muscled arms, and painted on leather

pants completed his ensemble. She tried to look away, but her eyes stayed rooted to his groin. Couldn’t go any farther than that bulge, thumbs ...

thumbs hooked in his pockets, framing his groin like a picture. It was one of those subtle moves all guys did but few could pull off because they didn’t have the package. This one definitely had it goin’ on.

He sauntered toward her, that cocky stride that couldn’t help but

garner any straight woman’s attention. “Navarre Lyssandro.”

Kaeli gaped at him. “Huh?” Once she’d seen him, her mind had

blanked beyond the need to procreate--fast. NOW.

Someone that damn sexy was nothing but trouble.

Navarre chuckled, standing just inside her comfort zone, crowding

her until she took a step back. He leaned against the lip of the alley,

leisurely running his gaze down her body. She shivered, the tips of her

breasts tingling with imagined contact.

“You asked who I was, I tell you. Navarre Lyssandro.”

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

6

He had an accent. Damn his hide, he had an accent! French and

Southern rolled into one tantalizing package that had her near salivating.

She shouldn’t lust after a stranger like this--it was completely foreign to her.

Kaeli glared at him, unwilling to concede defeat to a damn Cajun. “What

are you doing here?”

“Meetin’ a friend, chere. You goin’ tell me your name, pretty lady?”

Never in her life had anyone accused her of being a lady. “Kaeli

Jackson.”

“Kaeli,” he said, savoring her name like choice wine. It sounded so

much better on those lips.

She swallowed and offered her hand like an automaton. He shook it,

his hand warm, callused ... lingering. She withdrew quickly, palm itching to know more of him than that brief contact allowed. She never drank, but

tonight she needed something cold and hard to quench her libido.

Anger was good. It kept her head vaguely clear of confusing

thoughts when she concentrated on being outraged. “Why the hell didn’t

you help me when that kid attacked? Or call someone?”

He cocked one dark, golden brow. “I walked up after you’d already

taken him down, petite. After that, I jus’ enjoyed the show.”

“Excuses, excuses.” Kaeli grunted. “Wouldn’t want to hurt that

purty hide of yours, eh?” And it was a purty one, but not girlish in any way.

She couldn’t stop looking at him.
Trouble. Keep telling yourself that.

Trouble.

“I couldn’t chance you gettin’ hurt if I came up and distracted you.”

“Very heroic of you.” She was being an asshole but couldn’t help

herself. Hell, the guy said he hadn’t been there from the start. She was CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

7

always like this around hunks. No damn wonder she hadn’t been laid in

forty forevers. Prickly bitches just didn’t seem to hold much appeal for men for some unfathomable reason. It spoiled her mood just thinking about it.

“Not all women want to be rescued, petite. Besides, I didn’ know but

what you weren’t some militant feminist. I don’ like bein’ chewed on,” he paused, grinning, then continued, “not like that....”

She couldn’t help smiling at his innuendo. She definitely had a

craving for big meat right now. And she couldn’t blame his reasoning for

holding back when he’d come. Where she was from, men had been blasted

for one thing or another until they’d lost all shred of their manhood. They’d been bitched at so much you couldn’t even expect to have a guy come up to

you anymore and ask for a dance or buy you a drink. It was hell being a

woman these days.

“You forgive me, petite? I’ll be your shinin’ knight next time you’re

attacked.”

“Sure.” She shrugged. She could take care of herself--she was used

to it.

As snippety as she’d been, he still offered to see her into the club.

Once they passed through the blackened glass doors at the entrance and the music blasted their eardrums, he left her to go to his friend.

It was a shame really. She’d always liked those charming bad boys.

He was almost enough to make her forget how the night started. After

going to the bar and phoning in a tip and leaving the kid’s wallet, she

ordered a white russian and set out to find her friends. She spotted them almost immediately, getting off the dance floor.

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

8

Shawnda and Mina waved, and she followed them back to their table.

It was a little quieter in the corner away from the dance floor. Only minimal yelling was needed to communicate.

“Girl, what took you so long?” Shawnda asked after hugging Kaeli

and sitting down.

“Ya, I’d done give up on you coming. Called the hotel five times and

got no answer,” Mina said, settling into her chair.

“Sorry. I got mugged just outside the club.” Kaeli took a sip of her

drink and grimaced at the alcohol stealing her breath.

“Omigod!” they screamed in unison and passed hugs all around.

“What happened? Are you okay?”

Kaeli smiled at them. “I’m all right. Just some damn kid looking for

kicks. That ain’t the half of it though. Some guy came up right after.”

Mina perked up, instantly recognizing Kaeli’s interest. “Oh?”

“Spill it, Kaeli. Was he hot?”

“Take a look for yourself, Shawnda. He’s right over there.” Kaeli

hooked a thumb over her shoulder toward the opposite corner of the bar

where she’d seen him sit down.

They both stood and gaped. “Jesus! Kaeli, which one is it? They’re

both gorgeous,” Shawnda said.

“The blond one. His name’s Navarre.”

“On a first name basis now?” Mina asked as she sat. “Why didn’t you

jump him when you had the chance? We came here tonight for dick, and

girl, you need it worst of all.”

Kaeli nodded. They’d all been single so long, she was sure she was

growing cobwebs.

CARNAL KNOWLEDGE

Celeste Anwar

9

“I’d eat him up. You don’t pass up a good thing like that when it

comes along.” Shawnda finished off her fuzzy navel and leaned back in her chair, narrowing her dark eyes at Kaeli in mock severity.

Kaeli shrugged. “He’s not my type.” At their guffaws, she grinned.

“All right. Lies, all lies. I want him so bad I can practically taste it.”

Glancing over her shoulder through the smoky interior, she saw him stand

up and walk toward the exit.

“Damn. He’s leaving.”

“Well, go after him,” Shawnda prodded.

Torn, Kaeli sat there. She talked big, but when it came down to doing

the deed with a virtual stranger--no matter how hot--she was all talk and no action.

Shawnda and Mina both stood and grabbed her arms, hauling her up.

“Get the lead out of your ass and go after him before he gets away,”

Mina said.

They were right. You only live once. “Just bitch slap me for the

coward I am if I come home early tonight.” She pulled free. “You sure

y’all will be all right?”

“Hell, we were having a great time until that guy bit Mina.”

“Huh?” What the hell kind of city was this? Muggings, guys biting

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